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What is CHP?

Combined heat and power (CHP) integrates the production of usable heat and power (electricity), in
one single, highly efficient process.

CHP generates electricity whilst also capturing usable heat that is produced in this process. This
contrasts with conventional ways of generating electricity where vast amounts of heat is simply
wasted. In todays coal and gas fired power stations, up to two thirds of the overall energy consumed
is lost in this way, often seen as a cloud of steam rising from cooling towers.

Their relative sophistication means that the overall efficiency of CHP plants can reach in excess of 80%
at the point of use. This compares with the efficiency of CCGTs, which in the UK which range between
49% and 52%. Coal-fired plant fare less well with an efficiency of around 38%.

As an energy generation process, CHP is fuel neutral. This means that a CHP process can be applied to
both renewable and fossil fuels. The specific technologies employed, and the efficiencies they achieve
will vary, but in every situation CHP offers the capability to make more efficient and effective use of
valuable primary energy resources.

CHP plants provide local heat, electricity and sometimes even cooling to various types of users.
Because the energy is produced locally, CHP has the added benefit of avoiding efficiency losses
incurred through transmission and distribution of electricity through the National Grid and local
distribution networks. Around 7% of energy would usually be lost when the network is used to
transport energy from the generation source to the user. When taking account of these losses, the
respective efficiencies of both coal and CCGT plant fall further at the point of use.

Why choose CHP?

CHP is first and foremost an energy efficiency technology. It provides a means to substantially
reduce fuel, or primary energy, consumption without compromising the quality and reliability of
the energy supply to consumers. Consequently it provides a cost-effective means of generating
low-carbon or renewable energy.

CHP provides the following direct benefits:

A minimum of 10% energy savings required by the CHP Quality

Assurance scheme although many installations will deliver markedly
higher savings
Cost savings of between 15% and 40% over electricity sourced from
the grid and heat generated by on-site boilers

A minimum of 10% carbon dioxide savings for good quality natural

gas CHP in comparison to conventional forms of energy generation

High overall efficiency up to 80% or more at the point of use

A proven and reliable technology with numerous successful

installations throughout the world

These in turn deliver a range of beneficial outcomes:

A reduction in the cost of energy can improve competitiveness of

industry and business, help to alleviate fuel poverty and lower cost in
delivery of public services

Enhanced security of supply, making energy go further, through more

efficient use of fuel regardless of whether the fuel is renewable or

Increased flexibility and reliability of energy supply, both nationally

and locally as CHP can complement and enhance other forms of
energy generation

Flexible and responsive heat supplies the thermal energy (heat or

cooling) produced by CHP can be easily stored and later delivered to
meet demand as required by the user

Reduced overall demand on centralised power supply, such as large

scale coal or gas fired power stations thus reducing stress on the
electricity grid; more and more important as the UKs aging power
stations are decommissioned


Industrial CHP

These are typically the largest type of CHP plant. Ranging in scale from a few MWe to the size
of a conventional power station, these plants provide high value heat at the temperatures
and pressures often required by industry along with electricity. In some cases surplus heat
can also be used to meet heat requirements of the surrounding local community. Likewise,
electricity that is surplus to the needs of the site can be fed into the local network.
Profile: British Sugar

British Sugars Wissington site is the largest sugar beet factory in the world and the most
efficient factory in Europe. But whilst the site processes over 400,000 tonnes of the sweet
stuff each year, it also produces much more than sugar. Adopting a highly resource efficient
approach to production, the output of each process becomes the input of the next.

At the heart of this truly sustainable approach to manufacturing is a highly efficient CHP plant
commissioned at the end of the 1990s. The CHP plant provides a low cost source of energy
for the facility and has, therefore, been a significant enabler to the expansion and
diversification of the sugar factory.

This includes for example a modern biorefinery that produces 55,000 tonnes of renewable
bioethanol per year. Heat recovery helps to significantly minimise the carbon footprint of the
process. The site also hosts one of Europes largest glasshouses. This uses significant
volumes of low grade heat and even the CO2 gases from the CHP plant to help grow over 80
million tomatoes each year (about 10% of UK demand).

The 70 megawatt (MWe) capacity CHP plant also meets the steam and electricity needs of
the sites core sugar production operations and is able to export some 50 MWe of additional
low-carbon electricity back to the local network. This is enough power to meet the energy
needs of 120,000 people. Performance of the CHP plant itself was also recently augmented
by the addition of a multimillion pound water injection system which boosts output from the
gas turbine.

This highly efficient husbandry of resources be it sugar beet, to energy through even to
CO2 combined with environmental awareness and responsibility, not only ensures that the
carbon footprint of the site is minimised, but also helps preserve and enhance the
competitive advantage of British Sugar as a company.
CHP with District Heating

Connected to a district heating network, CHP can provide heat and power to multiple
customers in city centres, towns, villages, industrial zones and other built environments with
a dense heat load, this being a high concentrated demand for heat.

Profile: District heating across Sheffield

Sheffield's district heating network is the largest in the UK. It was established in 1988 and is
still expanding today. The scheme is operated by Veolia Environmental Services under
contract, on behalf of Sheffield City Council. It saves an equivalent 21,000 plus tonnes of
CO2 each year when compared to conventional sources of energy electricity from the
national grid and heat generated by individual boilers.

There are currently over 140 buildings connected to the district heating network that benefit
from using the low carbon energy providing the scheme, generated from Sheffields own
residual waste. These include city landmarks such as the Sheffield City Hall, the Lyceum
Theatre and its two universities, in addition to a wide variety of other buildings such as
hospitals, flats, shops, offices and leisure facilities. Some 2,800 residential households,
mainly in flats, benefit from connection to the scheme across Sheffield. In a typical year
around 120,000 Megawatt hours (MWh) of heat is delivered to customers.

More than 44km of underground pipes deliver energy which is generated at Sheffields
Energy Recovery Facility. This converts a staggering 225,000 tonnes of waste into energy,
producing up to 60 MWe of thermal energy and up to 19 MWe of electrical energy. This adds
to the environmental benefits of the scheme, ensuring waste material that would otherwise
have gone to landfill can be harnessed as a valuable energy resource for the benefit of the
local community. The city now sends less than 15% of its waste to landfill (the second lowest
level in the UK).

Example of district heating pipes being installed.


CHP can be incorporated into a tri-generation scheme , as opposed to cogeneration, to provide

cooling alongside heat and power from the same energy source. Here excess heat produced is
cooled by absorption chillers linked to the CHP system. This provides chilled water for cooling to
be circulated around a building or community. This is particularly useful for schemes that require
a large amount of air conditioning. This is also known as combined cooling, heat and power

Profile: MediaCityUK

MediaCityUK is a 500 million project being developed and delivered by the Peel Group at Salford
Quay in Manchester. The 37 acre waterfront site being built in phase one of the development will
provide a new home for BBC North, as well as an education centre for Salford University. It will
also offer commercial and retail space along with seven state of the art studios. A hotel and
residential accommodation will also sit around a piazza twice the size of Trafalgar Square.

Cofely, a leading energy and environmental efficiency services company owned by GDF SUEZ,
was commissioned to design, build and operate a CHP tri-generation scheme to meet the energy
needs of the flagship development. Construction began in summer 2007and phase one of the site
will be fully operational by 2011.

Electrical power used in the scheme is produced by a CHP engine using natural gas while the
heat generated, lost in a conventional system, is recovered as hot water. This is then circulated
around the MediaCityUK complex through a hidden network of pipes. Surplus heat is also used to
chill water, providing a cooling service to buildings.

Provision of cooling alongside heat and power, ensures the development is able to maximise the
benefit of the low-carbon energy provided across MediaCity throughout the year. It also extends
the environmental benefit of the scheme, displacing the need for separate air-conditioning, in
turn reducing overall CO2.

The installation of the CHP energy centre will result in a saving of 560,000 each year in energy
costs. It also delivers a minimum 29% saving in CO2 emissions when compared to supplying the
power, heat and cooling through conventional separate sources.
Packaged and mini-CHP

Packaged and mini-CHP is designed to meet the heat requirements of large and medium-sized
standalone buildings such as an office complex, hospital or block of flats, through to smaller sites
such as a leisure centre, supermarket, care home or hotel amongst numerous other examples.
Where relevant, these units can also feed power into the electricity network and can contribute
excess heat to a district heating network.

Profile: Sainsbury

Sainsbury installed two standalone packaged CHP units at its store on Cromwell Road, West
London, when faced with the prospect of delays to refurbishment due to insufficient local power
supplies. The installation of the two Cogenco 210 kilowatt (kWe) CHP units meant that the fast-
tracked store enhancement could be completed as planned.

The two gas-fired CHP units now meet a large portion of the stores electrical heating
requirements as well as providing heat for hot water and space heating. The installation has also
been designed so that the units can maintain power supplies to the stores refrigeration systems
in the event of an interruption to the mains power supply.
The units have cut energy bills at the Cromwell Road store by 20,000 per annum and CO2
emissions by nearly 2,000 tonnes a year. The store is just one numerous example where
Sainsbury have installed CHPs and secured significant cost and environmental benefit as a result.

Profile: Cranfield University

Cranfield University is installing a packaged CHP unit ready for operation in October 2010. The
unit, to be run by Edina UK, will result in a substantial reduction in the Universitys large and
expensive energy bill. Even after the cost of the contract for operation and maintenance, it is
anticipated that the CHP unit will provide an annual cost saving of approximately 250,000.

It will also provide a substantial contribution towards the Universitys own target for reductions in
CO2 emissions of over 50% over the period to 2014. With a potential net saving of 1,500 tonnes
of CO2, the CHP unit will certainly help them on their way in achieving this goal.

Ed Miliband visits the CHP plant at Guy's & St Thomas' hospital

Micro CHP

Micro-CHP is a specific form of CHP designed for individual households. As a replacement for a
standard domestic gas boiler, it generates power mainly for consumption in the home but also for
expert, alongside heat for space and water heating.
Profile: Baxi Ecogen micro-CHP unit

The Baxi Ecogen is the first widely available wall-hung domestic micro-CHP boiler in the UK. The
boiler produces up to 1 kWe of electricity per hour, to be used throughout the owners home.
Electricity that doesn't get used can then be sold back to the local network. Micro-CHP units are
also included within the Governments Feed-in Tariff scheme. This means that owners of a unit
receive an additional 13p on top of the standard sale price for each kilowatt hour (Kwh) of power
they sell.

The benefits of local electricity generation and use mean an Ecogen unit can reduce yearly fuel
bills by up to 600 and cut household carbon emissions by up to 40%. Servicing costs and
intervals of every 12 months are similar to a standard boiler. The units only requires a single
cable electrical connection and can be connected to an existing electricity circuit ensuring
installation costs are minimised.

The Baxi Ecogen is a type of Stirling engine micro-CHP unit. Numerous other types of Stirling,
alongside fuel cell and Organic Rankine Cycle, micro-CHP units from a wide range of other
manufacturers are currently in development or nearing commercialisation.

A Baxi Ecogen micro-CHP unit.